Garbage collectors on indefinite strike in Chandigarh from October 23
Sanitation workers to stop cleaning of markets, roads and residential streets; household waste collectors to take call after MC’s response.Updated: Oct 23, 2020, 01:06 IST
Even as the festival season has kicked in, the sanitation workers and garbage collectors have gone on a warpath against the municipal corporation for not meeting their demands and announced an indefinite strike in the city from Friday.
The door-to-door garbage collectors have also decided to support the strike call by the Safai Karamchari Union.
While the sanitation workers are up in arms against wearing GPS-enabled smart watches, the household garbage collectors are opposing MC’s plans to introduce garbage collection vehicles and taking over the door-to-door garbage collection.
“No sanitation worker will pick garbage or conduct cleanliness work in markets, roads and residential streets. The garbage can pile up as the corporation has turned a deaf ear to our genuine demands,” union president Krishan Kumar Chadha said.
“It was decided in the meeting of all unions that door-to-door garbage will not be collected from Friday. Also, sanitation workers will not transport waste to the Dadumajra dumping ground. As many as 32 employee unions of various departments are supporting us. On Friday, we will march from the Medial Officer of Health office to MC office in Sector 17 and sit there on a dharna,” he added.
Meanwhile, insisting that their union was going on strike in support of the Safai Karamchari Union, Om Prakash Saini, president of the Chandigarh Door-to-Door Garbage Collectors’ Society, said, “Garbage will be collected from houses on Friday morning and depending on MC’s response to the strike, we will decide our future course of action.”
The unions had approached MC officials on Thursday for negotiations. But, no conclusive meeting could take place, it is learned.
Rajesh Kalia, former mayor and chairman of the MC sanitation committee, said, “I support their genuine demands, but advise the workers not to go on strike.”
BONE OF CONTENTION
The civic body had distributed 4,000 smart watches among its employees for marking attendance and to keep a check on their location during work hours. The watches have been sourced from a company against a monthly rent of Rs 18 lakh. According to sanitation workers, while they are made to wear the devices, no other MC employee sports these.
“If MC is keen on making us wear these watches, it should also show interest in regularising 2,800 posts. These watches are faulty and cause health issues,” Chadha claimed.
“The corporation has not signed a memorandum of understanding with us as promised. We have been demanding permission to collect user charges from residents directly and sell reusable solid waste. But, even though the MC General House has passed a resolution to this effect, the corporation has not committed to it in writing,” Saini said.
“Instead, MC is insistent on collecting user charges through water bills or property tax bills, and also will pay out only a part of the earnings from sale of reusable waste articles. This will impact our income,” he added.